Germany, Ostrhauderfehn: Angelo Coutinho, 19, Volunteer from Brazil (FöJ).
I am a Brazilian, living in my first months in Germany. With no doubt, one of the greatest benefits of living in Europe is being able to travel very cheaply, something impossible in Brazil. So, I found a flight to Poland for just 30 Euros. I bought it without thinking twice, how I have a cousin who lives in …
… Krakow. Till then, everything fine.
I left home at 10:00 PM on a Monday heading the airport in Hamburg. Honestly, 5 hours on a train was not the most pleasant night, but I had no idea what was waiting for me in. Arriving at the airport, I find it completely empty. All closed, not a living soul. I thought it was strange, but I didn’t care much, even more, because I was too tired. I found a bench and slept until about 7:00 in the morning. When I woke up, the airport was already showing some sign of life, more people wandering. I took my flight at 9 AM with destination Krakow, Poland.
Right after landing, I asked for an Uber, and went to my cousin’s house, downtown. At that point, I was already with the entire trip planned. So I took the first day off to rest, just ate and slept.
The next morning we went to visit a nearby park for a walk. Talking to some people on the spot, we discovered that both Auschwitz and the Tatra National Park (a mountain range in the south of Poland) were completely closed due to the pandemic. I was a bit sad, but I had not yet realized the scale of it. After lunch, we went to the market, and everything was completely crowded. And for a good reason!
The Polish borders had closed, and I didn’t know it. I only went to find out when a friend of mine called me, about 10 PM and at the same time, I bought the first bus ticket to Germany, which was leaving at about 12.15 AM in the direction of Berlin.
It was terrible. It was 18 hour by bus until I got home, close to the Dutch border, besides the fear of being stuck in an unknown country with a strange language. I got home a week ahead of schedule, spent more money on the bus than I would spend in 20 days with food. It was an unprecedented turnaround.
But I learned on my own how this pandemic shows us the real truth behind the modern world, our values, our concerns, even capitalism, which in the end is as fragile as our immune system. Nothing will be the same as before.